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State's foreclosures drop slightly in February

LAWRENCEVILLE - Georgia's number of new foreclosures dropped slightly in February compared to the same time a year ago, according to Foreclosure.com.

Last month, the state had 1,610 properties placed in foreclosure, the process banks use to repossess homes whose owners could no longer pay the mortgage.

Georgia, which has been a nationwide hot spot for foreclosures, especially in metro Atlanta, had 1,632 newly foreclosed homes last February.

Across the United States, banks generally weren't as busy foreclosing on homes in February, at least compared to the first month of 2006. But a year-to-year comparison of new U.S. foreclosures showed a 9 percent increase, according to Foreclosure.com

"Foreclosure inventory numbers in February are often low, partially because legal filings in December usually drop off around the holidays and reduce foreclosures in January and February," Foreclosure.com President and CEO Brad Geisen said in a press release.

"The year-to-year comparison, however, tells a different story."

"If new foreclosures in 2006 continue to track 9 percent higher than in 2005, the country will reach higher inventory levels than it has in recent years."

Wayne County, Mich., and Dallas County, Texas, continue to top the country in foreclosures, though both saw a drop in February.

"Foreclosure rates in the western half of the nation are shifting," Geisen said. "Texas, which continues to have the highest number of foreclosures in the United States, has recently been showing a decrease in its foreclosure numbers."

Gwinnett reported 512 new foreclosures this month, a 6 percent decline from this time last year, according to legal notices sent to the Gwinnett Daily Post.